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Let’s Go Camping!

A weekend full of adventures and new experiences

With a desire to create new experiences for our scholars, in mid-October, the Goodnight Scholarships Office pursued an inaugural one-night camping trip in Boone, North Carolina. They camped at Julian Price Campground, and focused on hiking and camping etiquette. The weekend was filled with camping, hiking, and building relationships with fellow Goodnight Scholars.

Gaige Cogswell, program coordinator, and Jill Zalewski, associate director, led this adventure for scholars in the hopes to teach new campers camping basics and instill a love for nature.  Following shortly after the Goodnight Scholars fall break trips to Oklahoma City, OK and Toronto, Canada, this is the third trip that the Goodnight Scholarships has taken this semester. “Experiential education is super important, and it is why we do trips”, Gaige shared.  When he thought of this experience, he wanted to ensure it was rooted in the same ideas as other Goodnight trips, such as exploration, learning, and community development. “We want students to be hands-on and it is more than just talking about doing it…If you do it once, you’re more comfortable and willing to do it again. We want to open up an opportunity for students to open up different parts of the world and see what is possible,” Gaige followed. 

Scholars learned camping basics, how to cook over a fire, and the principles of “leave no trace.” Devin Roberts, Class of 2026, had never camped nor hiked prior to this experience. He praised the “quiet and serene” hiking environment, the beautiful stargazing opportunities, and the relationships he built with other scholars. From cooking nachos in a campfire, admiring vibrant autumn leaves during North Carolina’s notable peak leaf season, and experiencing cellular disconnection, scholars were met with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of pursuing new endeavors.

Devin ended with, “Going [camping] with Goodnight made me feel more confident. It is good to have that guided experience before you do it yourself. Now I feel like I could do it myself.”

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